What documents do you need to obtain before starting your voyage? What do you have to look out for on your shore excursions? Can you shop on board? Is there electric power supply in the cabins? What clothes should you take with you? ...

Answers to these and many other questions can be found here in our shipboard ABC.

Bicycle / Motor Cycle

  • Bicycles can be taken upon request free of charge. NSB does not take any responsibility for damages during their transportation. All cost arising for transportation within the terminal must be paid by the passenger directly.    
  • Motor cycles and cars cannot be taken on board.

Taking photographs / making films

  • Passengers are permitted to take photographs almost everywhere on board by arrangement with the Captain and that they do not thereby disturb the crew’s work. Taking photos may be prohibited in some areas, e.g. in the Panama or Suez Canal. Please find out about this in good time by asking the Captain! In secured areas such as engine room and bridge taking pictures can be prohibited. Taking photographs in ports is generally strictly prohibited on the basis of the ISPS Code and is punished by the authorities with stiff fines and sometimes even prison sentences.

Leisure activities

  • There are no leisure animators on board cargo ships. Every passenger is responsible for his or her leisure activities and entertainment. Various leisure activities are possible on board: you can bask in the sun in a deckchair, read, browse in the small ship’s library, watch a DVD in the common room or do something for your health by spending time in the swimming pool, sauna or fitness room.
  • You can watch the crew at work and in the evening challenge a crew member to a little game. In fact, there are no limits to your leisure activities, as there is always something to see, learn or do on a ship. Many passengers also enjoy keeping a travel diary.
  • You can, of course, also take your own CDs, DVDs or a world receiver with you on board.
  • All leisure facilities on board are communal facilities shared with the crew.

Dangerous areas on board

  • IN PORT … Going on to the decks and into the holds during loading/unloading work is prohibited owing to the high accident risk! Going on to the relevant superstructure decks may also be prohibited when the crew is taking on stores and provisions.
  • WHEN THE SHIP BERTHS OR DEPARTS OFF … While the vessel berths or departs in port, passengers are not allowed to be on the fore ship or aft ship, as this is where the docking lines are and handling these heavy lines can be dangerous, even for seamen. On these occasions, you are best advised to remain on the superstructure decks, where it is safe and there is a good view of everything going on.
  • AT SEA … During maintenance work on deck, you should consult the First Officer concerning the areas on deck where it can be dangerous, e.g. when machines are in operation, and should thus be avoided.
  • As the weather at sea can change very quickly, you should always expect a sudden seaway. Make sure that everything in your cabin is secured to prevent any items falling down and causing injuries. You are always advised to wear non-slip shoes on board. Please always use the internal stairs or lift (if available) in a seaway, as steps on the outer decks are slippery with saltwater in bad weather and thus constitute a high accident risk.
  • In general, you should always exactly follow all instructions issued by the port and ship personnel.


  • It is generally not allowed to take pets on board.


  • International Ship and Port Facility Scurity (ISPS) Code


  • A passenger’s cabin is his or her domain for the entire duration of the voyage, and the passenger is responsible for ensuring that everything is “shipshape”. The steward usually cleans the cabin once a week, but you should bear in mind that he is concerned mainly with another working area, which means that he is scarcely capable of providing any additional cabin service.
  • Cabins are always outer cabins.
  • Bed linen and hand towels are provided.
  • Under certain circumstances, the view from the windows of the cabin may be restricted or even blocked by containers or life boats stowed in front. An unobstructed view from the cabin window can therefore not be guaranteed. More information on this point is provided in our ship information sheets.
  • While passengers are disembarking, the new intake may already be waiting. If such a change of passengers is imminent, please vacate your cabin promptly before the ship berths.
  • Occasionally your cabin may still not be completely ready when you arrive on board. If something is missing, e.g. bed linen or hand towels, just contact the steward or another crew member.
  • You should avoid entering the cabin of a crew member if the door is closed, as this indicates that the seaman wants to rest. Owing to the shift work on board, some crew members also sleep during the daytime. However, if the door is open and the crew member is also in the cabin, you can knock and enter on request.


  • It is essential to take non-slip shoes (e.g. sailing or gym shoes) for the voyage.
  • We recommend windcheaters or wind- and weatherproof clothing suitable for the trip and season. If every type of climatic zone is passed through on the voyage, you need to take a warm pullover and trousers and a rainproof jacket as well as light cotton clothing such as shorts and T-shirts.
  • There is no dress code on board – we recommend light casual wear.
  • No bathing dress or shorts are allowed at meals.

Bridge and engine room

  • You have to ask the Captain or Chief Engineer for permission to enter these areas. It is not permitted to enter the engine room alone.
  • The engine control room and bridge are nerve centers of the ship, which you should make a point of seeing. It is normally possible to access the bridge. In adverse weather conditions, when the vessel is berthing or departing and at port entrances and exits, you will probably not be permitted to enter the bridge or engine room, as the Captain and officers have to concentrate fully on their work. Please appreciate this.
  • When on the bridge, the passenger should avoid the workplace of the officer of the watch to ensure that his work is not obstructed. This ruling also applies when the ship is out at sea.
    In time, you will develop a “feeling” that tells you when a visit to the bridge is likely to be welcome.
  • Incidentally, it is not usual to knock before entering the bridge when the vessel is at sea. Greet those already on the bridge – particularly when it is dark – just loudly enough to make yourself noticed or understood. If it is night, after coming on to the bridge wait until your eyes have accustomed themselves to the darkness.
  • Please never enter the bridge from the wing of the navigating bridge at night, as this can cause potentially dangerous misunderstandings with the bridge crew members, who may also fear a pirate attack in some areas.

Communications with the ship

  • It is simple and fast to phone or send a fax message. However, this is also comparatively expensive and should thus be reserved for urgent cases.
  • The e-mail system on board may be used for a fee to send and receive e-mails following registration on board. E-mails can only be received if the sender has sent an e-mail to the addressee before. As administrator of the private e-mail addresses and the software, the Captain is technically also able to read e-mail traffic. However, he is urged not to do so out of respect for users’ desire for privacy.
  • Payment is in cash (Euros or US Dollars).
  • There is no internet access on board.
  • It is also possible to hand over mail to the port agent. A guarantee that the mail will be forwarded cannot be given. 

Shore excursions

  • Passengers may take shore excursions on their own responsibility. They have to organize these themselves. Excursions must be carefully planned, as the ship’s berthing times are usually quite short. It is best to obtain the relevant country information or travel guides in advance. Crew members may also give you tips for a shore excursion. In exceptional cases, shore excursions are not permitted in a few countries/ports.
  • Before leaving the vessel, please always first ask the ship’s command whether you can go on shore and, if this is possible, find out exactly when you have to be back at the latest. It is best to take along a mobile phone so that you can be reached if there are any changes to berthing times. You should always note the designation of the berth, the mobile phone number of the ship and the telephone number or address of the port agency.
  • During a shore excursion, you have to pay for taxi rides, drinks and meals, excursions and other services immediately in cash. If you want to order a taxi, please contact the ship’s command, which will try to order one for you via the local agency.
  • The vessel may enter the port in the evening and depart the next morning. Sometimes the ship’s berth is far from the city or delays occur with clearance. Under these circumstances, it is sometimes impossible to organize shore excursions.
  • Before every shore excursion, please find out how safe the particular port is and whether or not certain areas should be avoided.
  • We recommend that you take with you small notes, in Euros and US Dollars, e.g. for taxi rides and tips.
  • Even if you are unable to exchange money into the national currency, small notes are better. Before the trip, please ask your bank for information on the various valid currencies and foreign exchange regulations of the countries involved (e.g., taking foreign currency in and out of the country). It is not permitted to exchange foreign currency outside official exchange offices in every country.
  • Unfortunately, there is crime everywhere in the world, and it can be particularly prevalent in some places because of extreme poverty, so always be wary on shore excursions. Don’t wear any showy jewelry, take with you only sufficient money for the excursion and try to avoid carrying a handbag. It is best to keep valuables close to your body. Seamen usually distribute their money for shore excursions on various points of the body. You should also make a point of carrying your photo equipment inconspicuously.

Berthing times

  • As berthing times are very expensive in the various ports, the charterer of your ship will do everything to ensure that the vessel completes loading/unloading operations as quickly as possible. A ship usually berths for 6-24 hours. A berthing time of up to two days can be expected in some ports or if a particularly high volume of cargo has to be transshipped. Berthing times can also be at night. Under some circumstances, it is then not possible to go on shore.

Liner shipping

  • The containerships managed by REEDEREI NSB are liner vessels, which (as a rule) circulate between specific ports on a route fixed by the charterer within a regular schedule, i.e. they normally operate according to a predetermined timetable. Changes in ports of call or no calls are still possible, even on short notice. 


  • Pilots assist the Captain on all dangerous shipping routes and in channels and port entrances and exits. Pilots are informed about the current local conditions and advise the Captain on the maneuvers required. It may not be possible to visit the bridge if a pilot is on board, as passengers would disturb the concentration of crew members or obstruct their visibility.


  • Is internationally outlawed!
  • Seaborne piracy takes place where a large amount of international commerce via seaways occurs and where it is difficult for authorities and the military to protect and patrol coastal shorelines and seaways. Parts of the populations find a greater economic value in piracy than in other employment.
  • Nowadays this often applies to threshold countries and particular ports with less efficient authorities or coastal shorelines where international shipping routes take along and local authorities are to be out of one’s depth.
  • Piracy areas are: Strait of Malacca, Gulf of Aden, coastline of West Africa and East Africa.
  • The increased security measures in these areas are very high. All outer staircases and outer doors will be locked and portholes will be darkened. Walks on deck may be not allowed.

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